OKC Thunder: Kevin Durant's playmaking overlooked during 10-game winning streak

Durant's month of January will be remembered for what he did putting the ball in the basket. But let's not forget the job he did putting the ball in his teammates' hands.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: February 2, 2014
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photo - Oklahoma City Thunder's Kevin Durant, left, moves around Brooklyn Nets' Shaun Livingston during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Jan. 31, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Oklahoma City Thunder's Kevin Durant, left, moves around Brooklyn Nets' Shaun Livingston during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Jan. 31, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Before to last Monday's game against Atlanta, when Durant was coming off a triple-double at Philadelphia, Thunder coach Scott Brooks was asked what the more impressive aspect of Durant's stretch has been. Brooks pondered the question for maybe five seconds.

“Passing,” Brooks finally said.

“His playmaking ability is a big part of what we do,” Brooks said. “He helps guys get good shots, just like guys help him get good shots … He's always been about the team. Kevin can score a lot of points, but he's not a selfish player. Sometimes, it's hard not to look at a guy who led the league in three out of the last four years in scoring (like that). But he's a team guy. He's a complete basketball player.”

Durant's assist percentage, or the percentage of teammate field goals a player assisted while he was on the floor, is 25.3 percent this year, a career high. Last year, it was 21.7 percent. The year before, it was 17.5 percent.

The Thunder averaged 21 assists in January, just 1.9 fewer than December. Not the drop off you might expect from a team missing its starting point guard and his seven assists per game.

It's a credit to Durant's progression as a playmaker, something that was never more evident than in January yet greatly overshadowed by his scoring tear.

“Last year, I was thinking too much that I needed to make up for the loss of Russ (Westbrook) when we all needed to just do it together,” Durant said. “It was a great learning experience for all of us.

“I'm not looking to score a lot of points all the time. I'm just playing off how the game is going. My team may need me, for a stretch, to try to score and be aggressive. But I'm all about winning the basketball game, however it comes.”


by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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